Garden fresh asparagus soup

The new cookbook to be released on April 20th from Eating Well "EatingWell in Season: The Farmers' Market Cookbook," just keeps on giving. It talks about asparagus growing 10 inches in a single day if the conditions are right. The conditions must be right near Monterey as we are blessed to have big bunches of organic asparagus grown near there every Friday at our hospital's farmers' market. The farmer says he will be there until early June. I will be there with him and hopefully so will many others. The first spring recipe in the cookbook is for a wonderful asparagus soup. It used ingredients I never would have considered in the soup like lite cocunut milk and red potatoes. But these additions made for a creamy and tasty soup. It's the season -- try this one.

Garden-Fresh Asparagus Soup
Serves six for appetizer servings

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger (I admit that I use HEAPING amounts of these spices)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon, divided
  • 2 cups diced peeled red potatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth or reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup "lite" coconut milk
  • 2 cups 1/2 inch pieces of asparagus (about one big bunch)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

For the garnish

  • 1/4 cup nonfat sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallion greens (How cool is this? Every other recipe says to just use the white and light green parts of scallions) or chives

Melt the butter in a large soup pot, add the oil, and heat it. Add the onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until the onions are golden stirring often---- this takes about 5 minutes. Stirin the curry powder, ginger, lemon zest and potatoes and cook for another 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Stir in the broth, coconut milk and asparagus. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, partially cover, and continue to cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.

Puree the soup with the hand held immersion blender or in bathces in your regular blender. Remember to remove the central cap in the top of a blender to let the steam escape so the lid doesn't blow off. I learned to just cover the hole with a bunched up towel loosely. Also it's advisable to do this step in batches so the blender is never more than about half full. Season with remaining salt and pepper.

Whisk the nonfat sour cream, lemon juice, and chopped greens and garnish the soup with an artistic swirl. Enjoy.

About Dr. Preston Marin:
Dr. Preston Maring is a 62-year-old OB/Gyn who has become a crusader for local, healthy food at the hospital and in the community. He's also an advocate on the national level for the small family farm as well as healthy eating as good medicine.

Dr. Maring is associate physician-in-chief at Kaiser Permanente's Oakland Medical Center, and has been a practicing OB/Gyn for more than 30 years. Living in California, an area full of year-round locally-grown produce, he was discouraged that more people didn't have the access or the means to shop for fresh produce. In May of 2003, Dr. Maring founded the first ever hospital-based farmers' market at the Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center. The farmers' market was embraced by the community and now, Kaiser Permanente has 30 farmers' markets in six states and the District of Columbia. Thanks to Dr. Maring's persistence, local produce is also now a part of in-patient meals at the 19 regional Kaiser Permanente Hospitals. For years, Dr. Maring has circulated a recipe of the week - inspired by his wanderings through farmers' markets - to thousands of co-workers and patients.

He now publishes those recipes and other commentary on his blog:

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